TULSA, OK - MARCH 20: Derrick Williams #23 of the Arizona Wildcats is fouled by Jordan Hamilton #3 of the Texas Longhorns on the game tying shot during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at BOK Center on March 20, 2011 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Williams made the following free throw to win the game for Arizona 70-69. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
I watched the replay on SportsCenter.
The 70-69 victory came, like a bunch of the other NCAA Tournament games have, with the officials making calls (or no-calls) in the final seconds that would help determine the game's outcome.
Under further review, it came down to Texas' Cory Joseph spending too much time looking for someone to pass it to on the inbounds with 14 seconds to go rather than, well, actually passing it. But look at the replay closely and you'll see it wasn't so obvious he called time before the official counted five ticks
In fact, it looked like it was before the official even swept his hand across the fifth second. So yes, there's a controversy there, something UT head coach Rick Barnes said, before looking at replays, he hoped was not controversial.
Oops. Well, I'll give the Longhorns that it wasn't quite a fair shake. And the last-second attempt by J'Covan Brown wasn't quite the fair shake either perhaps, nor the offensive rebound and put-back attempt by Gary Johnson.
But hey, here's how I look at it.
Arizona jumped on Texas in the first half. The Longhorns sure did fight back, but it was the Wildcats who played a more consistent 40 minutes. Forward Derrick Williams was pretty bad offensively for the most part, but still, Arizona led by 11 at the half behind Solomon Hill and Jordin Mayes' combined 23.
When it was Texas tea time, it was too late.
Arizona didn't shoot their free throws so well throughout. Brown hit all 13 of his for the Longhorns.
Arizona's Plan B players stepped up with Williams struggling. Not the same can be said for Texas, who's star big man Tristan Thompson was blanketed by Williams -- Thompson scored three, grabbed only six boards and the Wildcats held essentially even in the rebounding margin.
So it came down to the end.
Biggest mistake of the day? Perhaps Jordan Hamilton's timeout with 14 seconds left. He grabbed the rebound off Williams' seemingly last-ditch shot attempt and instead of trying to burn the time that was so precious for the Wildcats at that point, he panicked and called timeout.
That led to the inbounds play, where the Wildcats managed to switch every screen and deny the pass (for as much as UA coach Sean Miller yelled at Jamelle Horne earlier in the game for poor efffort and dumb plays, it was Horne who used his length to deny Joseph's vision. The same can be said for Miller's confidence in Jones, who had a crappy day but still was in there on the last defensive play).
Of course, you know how it ended. Williams scored an And 1 and Texas went home.
So yeah, I do think the refs had some questionable calls. But it was Arizona who played a great first half and weathered a talented team's will.
Do you think the refs blew it for the Longhorns?